Heather Bentz

    • Dance Party
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • Chain Painting
    • acrylic and graphite on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • How It Begins
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • Lighting
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • Back Door
    • acrylic and graphite on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • Power Chain
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • Seven Hundred Seven
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • Where Are We Going
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 70" x 42"
    • What I Have To Say
    • acrylic on canvas
    • 48" x 36"

Artist Statement

“My work investigates the interplay of relationships that occur in layered pattern through the transformation of ordinary found materials. My process preserves the history of surface with clues to its meaning and content.  

Process is central to my work and begins with the pedestrian activity of gathering. Picking up dirty cardboard, paper scraps and rusted metal pieces establishes the source materials for patterns in my work. I utilize photography to gather sources that cannot be picked up—sources such as color, reflections on glass-sided buildings, latticed air vents and decorative cement block walls. 

The inherent organizational quality of pattern attracts me with its beautiful order and predictable rhythm. Yet it is the breakdown and altering of pattern I employ as a metaphor for personal history and self worth. In the studio, my process involves hand drawing and hand cutting stencils and templates, embracing imperfections of the hand and mis-measurements, while representing the inherent structure and repeat of pattern. My templates are binary, simple, flattened guides which allow me to investigate the edges between objects and space. 

My childhood strongly influenced my aesthetic and my process. My parents, also artists, saw potential and thrift in what others had discarded and could be refurbished for our home. Tall wrought iron gates were salvaged from the scrap yard. Our driveway, made of bricks from a demolished school, was hand-laid by my father. Damaged chairs and tables whisked away from curbside trash heaps were transformed and reintroduced to our household. Paisley fabrics and 7UP billboards (used instead as wallpaper) adorned our home. The influence of daily exposure to decoration, design and visual motifs from that period, and first-hand observation of the transformation of scavenged materials, serves as a long-established basis for my work.

As I take hold of a found material and consider its history, I am energized by its rescue. I recognize a quality in its use as an object to be transformed. It is my symbolic index to build patterns that salvage, represent and organize the world around me. It is an artifact that forms a context for my own life, and builds imagery that is new and surprising, yet familiar. I am home, in an environment of my own making.”

– Heather Bentz